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Volume XVII, Issue 51 ~ December 17 - December 23, 2009

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Patuxent Habitat for Humanity

by Simone Gorindo

In Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, Patuxent Habitat for Humanity is Habitat for the Chesapeake’s smaller, newer counterpart.

“The value of land has sky-rocketed in recent years, reducing availability of affordable housing and out-pricing homeownership for many hard-working families,” says director of administration Diane Daly.

Top: Donald and Melissa Holt cut the ribbon at their new home in St Mary’s County. The house is equipped with ramps, wide doorways and roomy hallways for Darnell, who is in a wheelchair.

Right: Donald, Melissa, DJ and Darnell Holt.

Patuxent Habitat sells houses to families at no profit and with interest-free loans. The average price of a Habitat home in these southern counties is around $100,000. Mortgage payments are made over 20 to 30 years, helping fund the construction of homes to come.

Families are chosen on three criteria: Need, ability to repay a no-interest mortgage and willingness to partner with the program. Here, adult family members invest 200 hours of work in the construction of their own home or in the construction of other Habitat homes. For some cases, that means helping with administrative duties.

Families “work alongside the volunteers who are helping to build the house,” Daly says. “We could not complete our mission without our cadre of volunteers.”

Volunteers make Patuxent Habitat work, while grants from corporations, churches and state government and donations from generous individuals fuel the program. With the help of both, Patuxent Habitat for Humanity has built 10 houses since its birth in 2003, shortly after founder John Wagner led a group in building a Calvert County home for a family with 11 children.

This month, Patuxent dedicated the first home built under its Green Building Advisory Committee recommendations, conserving the earth’s and family’s resources with energy-saving measures like extra insulation, a geothermal heating and cooling system and house orientation to take advantage of seasonal solar patterns. In 2007, Patuxent Habitat followed the lead of many chapters to open ReStore to resell donated home furnishings and building materials and rescue castoffs from the landfill.

[Read more about ReStore in Margaret Tearman’s story at]

Patuxent Habitat for Humanity serves Calvert and St. Mary’s counties from offices in Lexington Park: 410-326-9050

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